Several breakaways animated stage 3 of the Tour of Scandinavia. The last one came from Carina Schrempf (Fenix-Deceuninck), who attacked 28.5km from the finish line in Larvik and stayed ahead of the peloton until being reeled in at the two-kilometre mark. It was a learning experience for the Austrian champion, who is in her first full season as a pro, and one without regrets.
Schrempf was caught just in time for the uphill sprint that saw Lorena Wiebes (Team SD Worx) win the stage. She had tried an attack on a similar uphill finish on stage 8 of the Giro d’Italia Donne but was more than happy with her earlier move on the Norwegian roads.
“There are no regrets today. There are lots of strong riders in the peloton that can do really well in this uphill finish, and with Yara Kastelijn and Greta Marturano we have two riders who have proven how well they can do on such a final climb. For me, it’s about gaining as much experience as possible in my first pro season – and the solo breakaway experience is another one that had to be made,” Schrempf told Cyclingnews with a smile.
Unlike the two previous breakaways, both groups of four, she did not have anyone come along when she attacked. However, once she had a gap, she continued.
“I hoped that someone would join me on my attack because, with two or three other riders, the chance of making it to the finish line would have been bigger. But when I realised that there was quite a gap, I kept riding to give it a try,” she said.
“In a cycling race, you never know what’s happening, and I didn’t think so much about the outcome – just about giving it my best possible shot. Thinking about the incredible breakaways of my teammates Yara Kastelijn and Julie van de Velde in the Tour de France motivated me even more. I’m really grateful for that experience and for the support from the team.”
At the age of 28, 2023 is nevertheless Schrempf’s first season as a pro cyclist, having signed a two-year contract with Fenix-Deceuninck ahead of the season. Like many riders in the Women’s WorldTour peloton, Schrempf is a lateral entrant from another sport after a ten-year career in middle-distance running where she won several Austrian titles over 400, 800, and 1500 metres as well as in the 4 x 200 metres relay and participated in the 2015 European Games, all while studying and working in event management.
However, the training loads involved in an athletics career eventually caused overload injuries, and Schrempf moved to cycling in 2021. In 2022, she did her first UCI races, winning the mountain and intermediate sprint jerseys at the Czech 2.2 stage race Gracia Orlová.
Later in 2022, she was a last-minute call-up for the Mixed Relay TTT and the road race at the World Championships in Wollongong due to the illness of Katharina and Christina Schweinberger.
Schrempf finished 11th in the Mixed Relay with the Austrian team and then placed 33rd in the road race. These results netted her her first pro contract for 2023, and she left her event management job behind to give the cycling career her full focus.
“The first jump into the pro peloton was quite overwhelming, but with every race, I’m feeling better and better. I’m so thankful for my teammates who help me making progress as fast as possible and to the team for believing in me. There are always things to be improved but I have the perfect environment now to take it step by step,” Schrempf explained.